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AIRLINES AND LEAN MANAGEMENT

Airline operations present a striking dichotomy. Each day, the airlines achieve the remarkable by safely moving nearly five million people more

than 40 million air miles around the world. Often, however, they fail to deliver on the ordinary. Once the aircraft land, all too many of them taxi to a jetway and waitperhaps for a ground crew to arrive and open a door or for the end of the traffic caused by another plane’s maintenance delay. Even

standout, low-cost performers lose bags, keep valuable employees idle, depart late, and have billions of dollars in chronically underutilized aircraft and other hugely expensive assets. These extremes coexist because airlines have historically focused on safety, aircraft technology, speed, geographic reach, and in-flight service attributes; on distinctive regulatory constraints and labor issues; and on the unpredictability imposed by weather and rapidly shifting demand. At the same time, issues such as route structures, excess capacity, pricing, and yield management compete with operations for the airlines’ attention. 1 As a result, the airlines haven’t given their operations factorylike, industrial-engineering scrutiny. Great operators in other heavy industries have worked through these challenges to deliver low costs, high quality, and satisfied customers.

Yet up to 45 percent of an airline’s cost structure consists of maintenance,

ground handling, in-flight services, call centers, and aircraft acquisitions (which are influenced by operational variables like aircraft downtime). One

hundred years after the first powered flight, it’s time to start looking at the

airlines as mature industrial companies and to apply proven manufacturing practices that can streamline their process-intensive activities. At stake is an opportunity to reduce overall costs dramatically by using labor, materials, and assets more efficiently, to enhance the reliability of service, and to strengthen flight safety.

Lean approaches, adopted by numerous industrial and service companies (including many that are heavily unionized and some, like hospitals and medical-device manufacturers, that are highly regulated), are well suited to the airlines’ challenges. As lean techniques eliminate waste, they also root out the nonstandardized work times, variable team structures, and highly asynchronous work flows that many airline executives now view as unavoidable.

The lean approaches of pioneering airlines have begun with the maintenance shop, which functions very much as a disassembly-assembly factory and displays a striking degree of waste and variability. Impressive maintenance

results30 to 50 percent improvements in aircraft and component turnaround times and 25 to 50 percent improvements in productivity (Figure 1)—are encouraging signs for the airlines’ other operational choke points, such as baggage handling, passenger loading, and customer service. Applying the philosophy and methods of the lean approach also creates new opportunities for outsourcing and insourcing.

In any industry, companies that adopt lean techniques face difficulties, such as getting senior management committed to the effort, developing the talent pool to lead it, and avoiding the "pick-and-choose" lean-tool-kit approach, which in the end fails to address the root causes of problems. Yet precisely because the lean journey is difficult, the gains won by airlines that persevere with it are more likely to be truly differentiating and sustainable than those resulting from more imitable tactics, such as extracting wage concessions or cutting service. As the industry struggles through the most severe downturn in its history, now is the time to begin.

Figure 1

results — 30 to 50 percent improvements in aircraft and component turnaround times and 25 to

When airline executives talk operations, more often than not they focus on the features that distinguish their industry from others. Yet an airline orders materials just as a factory does, and it sequences work, deploys workers to specialized tasks, commits itself to quality levels, and at regular intervals turns out the equivalent of productsserviced and airworthy aircraft. Conversely, like airlines, factories face variability when large orders roll in unexpectedly, equipment breaks down, or snowstorms interrupt supplies.

Underlying lean techniques are four principles: the elimination of waste, the control of variability, flexibility, and the full utilization of human talent. These principles have enormous relevance for organizations concerned with safety, customer service, and unpredictable events such as weather. Companies that embrace lean really begin to see things differently. Our work with several international carriers and with a European third-party maintenance provider has provided a glimpse into this tremendous opportunity.

In spite of the strong cost-cutting efforts of the airlines, they still harbor large amounts of what lean practitioners define as waste: anything that

doesn’t add value for end customers. Waste starts with the utilization of

aircraft and other kinds of infrastructure, which often falls below 50 percent. Passengers see a part of this problem in the form of empty gates, avoidable tarmac delays, and idle planes. Valuable and highly skilled employees routinely spend a large part of their time on low-value activities or just plain waiting (Figure 2). The arriving traveler watches in frustration as a baggage carousel remains empty for 30 minutes because of a lack of handlers. Dozens of stranded travelers fume while a single clerk processes them. In maintenance hangars, mechanics spend far more time chasing parts than repairing aircraft. Moreover, airlines struggle to tailor the level of staffing or the pace of work to their service demands efficientlydespite the predictability of many tasks, such as the removal of wheels. In some

maintenance shops, 20 to 30 percent of the mechanics’ time is spent in the

break area; in others, actual clocked person-hours are 30 percent lower than scheduled hours.

Standard operating procedures exist, but the airlines generally focus on what regulators such as the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) require them to do, not on how to do it efficiently. Thick manuals outline tasks but without standardizing sequences, processing times, or best practices. Passengers experience this problem firsthand in the form of check-in and loading procedures that vary from airport to airport or even gate to gate. The

absence of operating standards often breeds inefficiency in spite of workers’ best efforts to carry out required tasks and meet regulatory standards. We’ve seen two mechanics using different toolsone half as effective as the otherto remove a panel from the underside of a fuselage.

Figure 2

Standard operating procedures exist, but the airlines generally focus on what regulators such as the US

The suitability of lean techniques to meet these and other challenges presents the airlines with a ray of hope. What exactly would a lean airline operation look like and deliver?

To illustrate the application of lean techniques, we’ll look closely at a single

operationthe A-check, analogous in role (but not complexity) to servicing a car. Picture the scene: an aircraft pulls into a hangar late at night. Schedulers "job-card" the list of tasks to be performed and coordinate

tooling, spare parts, and staffing. Engineers define the person-hour workloads. Supporting departments and workshops, such as materials

management and avionics, provide parts. As if the number of parties

involved didn’t generate enough complexity, many nonroutine issues are

created by cracks, leaks, system faults, and extraneous damage (for instance, engine damage from bird strikes). The goal is to wade through the surprises

and get the plane on the flight line by morning.

A new operating system. Adopting a lean operating system first requires an organization to search for order in the demand patterns of its "customer" (in this case, flight operations). When this discipline is applied to the maintenance shop, only a third of all A-check activities turn out to be nonroutine. Of the nonroutine work, nearly a quarter is accounted for by wing maintenance, which overwhelmingly involves just four areas (Exhibit 3). Standard preparations for them transform nearly 20 percent of all nonroutine A-check tasks into routine ones. A better system for replacing lightbulbs makes almost 5 percent of all currently unpredictable A-check operations routine. Most maintenance organizations already know that nonroutine work is clustered, but few have reliable records or analyses to make sense of the patterns. Figure 3

Such knowledge helps an operator create standard tasks and workplace designs. Drawing on the collective expertise of its mechanics, it could develop standard work routines, making use of enhanced tools and fixtures, that would substantially increase the efficiency of their wrench time. During A-checks, for instance, they sometimes lubricate parts using a two-person, hand-pumped grease gun while a hydraulic model that allows one person to

do the job sits idly in a corner. Arraying such tools at the ready in a highly organized work space can yield large efficiencies. Pre-staging parts such as

replacement filters eliminates a source of error by ensuring that they won’t

be overlooked. Mechanics become surgeons, with all their equipment and tooling arranged carefully ahead of time and reliable procedures in place to

deal with surprises. Simply by eliminating ongoing searches for parts, tools, and paperwork, a carrier may improve the productivity of its repair operations by more than 30 percent.

Standardization progresses as operators determine the actual time needed for each task, along with the sources of variation. Rather than stepping away to find a tool, mechanics stay by the aircraft and visually signal their tool and part requirements. As they work, they note any flaw in the process and perfect it for the future.

Well-defined, standard work practices make more rigorous scheduling possible. Standard completion times and best-quality sequences help operators divide and balance their workloads so that they can choreograph aircraft movements during nightly A-checks. (In a carefully scheduled lean system, everyone knows that a 767 will come through the door at a certain time and will exit, say, two hours and 40 minutes later.) That level of scheduling rigor helps companies match their staffing levels with work sequences more accurately. Meanwhile, demand-based materials replenishmentmade possible bykanban signals that directly link upstream activities to actual usagelocks in replacement parts and minimizes surprises. Improved information flows and standard job practices combine to make schedules more stable and introduce an operating pace, formerly a novelty for repair operations. Keeping the front line informed is vital, particularly in maintenance shops where aircraft move slowly and no formal assembly line provides rhythm and discipline. In a lean A-check, marks on the hangar floor inform the tug operator and the mechanics where a plane will stop, equipment will be kept, and workers will be deployed. Performance- management boards close to the aircraft convey the status of each task and thus help the team utilize resources efficiently and in real time. Workers use these boards, a visual form of communication involving the whole team, to transfer information on progress rapidly. Through visual card displays, mechanics can see the pace of a job and learn the job sequence of the turnaround. The team counts its time-to-completion visually. When the check is done, the team draws on the board’s performance data to see how it could improve.

ONLINE TICKET

ONLINE TICKET Customized offerings and vast selections are now expected as the norm in consumer-focused industries.

Customized offerings and vast selections are now expected as the norm in consumer-focused industries. As the percentage of leisure travellers continues to grow, airlines need to find innovative ways to increase the effective yield from these lower-margin travellers. Clearly, there is “one size fits-all” approach to reaching customers, as Generation Y passengers under 30 years old will have markedly different criteria for an enjoyable travel experience than parents with toddlers. The online ticketing portal starts when a customer logs into a website of ticket booking. He requests the destination and the date of journey and is then provided with the travel information he is been looking for. He selects the applicable and the required flights and routes that is displayed. The usual process stops here but according to our research and project we feel we have something to add on here. The website can

then further display the add on’s for any special requirement by the passenger. The special requirements majorly contain “A wheel chair for the old people, a pram for the baby, etc”. As the screen opens up, it will be basically show up the food section

that the customer can choose what it wants to have at the flight and the special requirements. Now the basic motive to do this would be “To charge the customers with only the Travel fee”. Example: Many of us don’t prefer to eat anything on the

flight but the charges of it are included in our ticket. So the basic motive of this

system will be to reduce the cost of travel as to attract more customers and customize their travel so that they revert back again and thus end up becoming a loyal customer for the Air India. This also helps us creating a central database which can further be used to deliver the services efficiently at the time of arrival.

CUSTOMER ARRIVAL

CUSTOMER ARRIVAL As the customer arrives in the airport, with the help of the central database

As the customer arrives in the airport, with the help of the central database that is already been created during the online ticket booking, all the resources with any special requirements are been kept ready at the time of arrival. There will a small counter at the arrival with all equipments ready and as the customer approaches the Air India personnel verifies the ticket information and provide them with the requirements that is on the ticket. If there are any special requirements, the customer gets the resources opted for and then he further moves inside the airport. The benefit of doing this would be it saves a lot of time of the passenger and makes their travel journey easy. The passengers need not to go and find out at the time of arrival at the airport with any requirements and then waiting for things to get cleared; instead with the help of the central database system, everything is kept ready and the customer just need to show their ticket and get all the requirements on the spot, without wasting their time searching for the resources at airport. Just in time process helps us to reduce the wastage and keep things up to the mark and that everything is working efficiently.

BAGGAGE

BAGGAGE As the customer enters the airport after the ticket checking and the verification of their

As the customer enters the airport after the ticket checking and the verification of their identity, there will be a separate weighing belt of Air India in which the customers need to weigh the weight of their luggages. The Air India personnel appointed for this verifies the belt of the customer, if the weight is in the limits, the personnel put a tag and let the person take the baggage to the check in counter. In case if the weight is more, the customer is taken separately to adjust the weight and is been provided with the adjust baggage in which he need to shifts his stuff and take it as a handbag on the flight. This process helps Air India and the customer too saves a lot of time. The time when the person stands on a Que with the bag adjusting his luggage eats away his time as well as of the other customers too. This process helps us standardizing the process reduce the Que time.

HAND BAG

HAND BAG There has been times when our hand baggage is usually bigger then what we

There has been times when our hand baggage is usually bigger then what we should carry with us. The problems that occurs in this as we don’t get enough space to put of baggage on the hand baggage space provided in flight due to the size of the handbag. This process will help us cut down that problem and makes the journey smooth. In this the customer stands in the weighing Que and the Air India personnel verify the size of the baggage. If the size is in limit, the customer continues to check in, and if not the customer is provided with the separate bag to place the necessities. Example: A mother carrying a baby with her needs the stuffs like milk, bottles, etc, so she will be given a separate bag to carry those things as a hand baggage in the flight and the rest stuff will be sent as a main luggage. This helps us standardizing our services and the difficulties faced by the passengers are been taken care of in this matter.

FOOD KIOSK

FOOD KIOSK An airline meal or in-flight meal is a <a href=meal served to passengers on board a commercial airliner . These meals are prepared by airline catering services. These meals vary widely in quality and quantity across different airline companies and classes of travel. They range from a simple beverage in short- haul economy class to a seven-course gourmet meal in long-haul first class. To provide everyone with high quality food which is served hot a special provision is made for passengers who did not book their food online. The kiosk displays a list of items which can be served hot within the given time of a flight thus preventing inventories and providing passengers with hot food. As displayed in the figure different food items are displayed with time remaining to make an order for the item. As time goes by the items in the list decreases based on the time for preparation and in the last half hour before boarding only those items which can be made fast such as a sandwich remain on the list and 20 minutes prior to boarding the kiosk is closed for that particular flight Kiosks are placed after security check and also inside the waiting areas so that passengers can order food that they require before they board the flight based on the time restrictions. Caterers usually produce alternative meals for passengers with restrictive diets. These must usually be ordered in advance, sometimes when buying the ticket if not based on time restrictions these can be chosen at the kiosk. But this would require passengers to access the kiosks much earlier in order to have the full menu available to them. Some of the alternative meals are:  Cultural diets, such as French, Italian, Chinese, Japanese or Indian style.  Infant and baby meals. Some airlines also offer children's meals, containing foods that  children will enjoy such as baked beans, mini -hamburgers and hot dogs. Medical diets, includin g low/hi g h fiber, low fat /cholesterol, diabetic, peanut free, non-lactose,  low salt /sodium ,low-purine, low-calorie, low-protein, bland (non-spicy) and gluten-free meals. Religious diets, including kosher, halal, and Hindu, Buddhist and Jain vegetarian (sometimes termed Asian vegetarian) meals. " id="pdf-obj-10-4" src="pdf-obj-10-4.jpg">
FOOD KIOSK An airline meal or in-flight meal is a <a href=meal served to passengers on board a commercial airliner . These meals are prepared by airline catering services. These meals vary widely in quality and quantity across different airline companies and classes of travel. They range from a simple beverage in short- haul economy class to a seven-course gourmet meal in long-haul first class. To provide everyone with high quality food which is served hot a special provision is made for passengers who did not book their food online. The kiosk displays a list of items which can be served hot within the given time of a flight thus preventing inventories and providing passengers with hot food. As displayed in the figure different food items are displayed with time remaining to make an order for the item. As time goes by the items in the list decreases based on the time for preparation and in the last half hour before boarding only those items which can be made fast such as a sandwich remain on the list and 20 minutes prior to boarding the kiosk is closed for that particular flight Kiosks are placed after security check and also inside the waiting areas so that passengers can order food that they require before they board the flight based on the time restrictions. Caterers usually produce alternative meals for passengers with restrictive diets. These must usually be ordered in advance, sometimes when buying the ticket if not based on time restrictions these can be chosen at the kiosk. But this would require passengers to access the kiosks much earlier in order to have the full menu available to them. Some of the alternative meals are:  Cultural diets, such as French, Italian, Chinese, Japanese or Indian style.  Infant and baby meals. Some airlines also offer children's meals, containing foods that  children will enjoy such as baked beans, mini -hamburgers and hot dogs. Medical diets, includin g low/hi g h fiber, low fat /cholesterol, diabetic, peanut free, non-lactose,  low salt /sodium ,low-purine, low-calorie, low-protein, bland (non-spicy) and gluten-free meals. Religious diets, including kosher, halal, and Hindu, Buddhist and Jain vegetarian (sometimes termed Asian vegetarian) meals. " id="pdf-obj-10-6" src="pdf-obj-10-6.jpg">

An airline meal or in-flight meal is a meal served to passengers on board a commercial airliner. These meals are prepared by airline catering services.

These meals vary widely in quality and quantity across different airline companies and classes of travel. They range from a simple beverage in short- haul economy class to a seven-course gourmet meal in long-haul first class.

To provide everyone with high quality food which is served hot a special provision is made for passengers who did not book their food online. The kiosk displays a list of items which can be served hot within the given time of a flight thus preventing inventories and providing passengers with hot food. As displayed in the figure different food items are displayed with time remaining to make an order for the item. As time goes by the items in the list decreases based on the time for preparation and in the last half hour before boarding only those items which can be made fast such as a sandwich remain on the list and 20 minutes prior to boarding the kiosk is closed for that particular flight

Kiosks are placed after security check and also inside the waiting areas so that passengers can order food that they require before they board the flight based on the time restrictions.

Caterers usually produce alternative meals for passengers with restrictive diets. These must usually be ordered in advance, sometimes when buying the ticket if not based on time restrictions these can be chosen at the kiosk. But this would require passengers to access the kiosks much earlier in order to have the full menu available to them. Some of the alternative meals are:

Cultural diets, such as French, Italian, Chinese, Japanese or Indian style.

Infant and baby meals. Some airlines also offer children's meals, containing foods that

children will enjoy such as baked beans, mini-hamburgers and hot dogs. Medical diets, including low/high fiber, low fat/cholesterol, diabetic, peanut free, non-lactose,

low salt/sodium,low-purine, low-calorie, low-protein, bland (non-spicy) and gluten-free meals. Religious diets, including kosher, halal, and Hindu, Buddhist and Jain vegetarian (sometimes termed Asian vegetarian) meals.

Vegetarian and vegan meals. Some airlines do not offer a specific meal for vegetarians; instead, they are given a vegan meal.

QUALITY METHODS

We have build our service blueprint on ZERO DEFECTS MODEL.By analysing the stages and the problems that arise at the grassroot level like the waiting for baggage, people blocking way in queue,etc we have created a model where errors on being detrected are prevented to reoccur. This is done by stanadardising the process from the check in to boarding the flight.The role of standardizing is that the number of variations are prevented leading to consistent flow in the process

ZERO DEFECT MODEL

 <a href=Vegetarian and vegan meals. Some airlines do not offer a specific meal for vegetarians; instead, they are given a vegan meal. QUALITY METHODS We have build our service blueprint on ZERO DEFECTS MODEL. By analysing the stages and the problems that arise at the grassroot level like the waiting for baggage, people blocking way in queue,etc we have created a model where errors on being detrected are prevented to reoccur. This is done by stanadardising the process from the check in to boarding the flight.The role of standardizing is that the number of variations are prevented leading to consistent flow in the process ZERO DEFECT MODEL " id="pdf-obj-11-17" src="pdf-obj-11-17.jpg">

SIX SIGMA APPROACH

Six-Sigma engage each employee of the organization from top executives to the employee on the manufacturing or service floor.It focuses on quality improvement, cost- reduction ,cycle time reduction and improved delivery performance. This results in higher profits and customer satisfaction .It also improves the relationship between the management & employees. In order to implement the principles of this approach we propose the following:

By reducing the blockage at the time of check in (due to excess baggage) we not only reduce the variation caused but also reduce the impact on cycle time and make the process flow smoothly.

By introducing RFID tags and we can effectively improve the the flow of

passengers. Also by putting baggage on flight according to the order so that passangers who disembark first and on reaching conveyer belt find their bags already arrived and who arrive late are aware that arrival of their bags will take time.It will led to less hassle and disappointment which will directly improve satisfaction level of customers.

PROBLEM: Generally bag handling is a challenge for airlines and a problem for customers. They have to wait for their bags for hours even when they have reached on time to conveyer belt. RECOMMENDATION: We suggest instead of placing bags in a random order if bags are kept in an organized manner we can smoothen the process.This will happen by colour coding the bags after check in the ground staff can stick colour tags to bags.To explain , lets say the bags are coded red if they are of passengers sitting at last seats (last section).These bags are loaded first on the carriage of aircraft and placed first.Secondly bags of second last section are attached a green tag and kept in front of the red colourbags in order of seats.Similarly for other sections bags are kept in order such that bags of people in the back section of plane (who are last one to disembark and reach conveyer belt) arrive in the end.

BAGGAGE COLOR CODE:

BLUE RED GREE
BLUE
RED
GREE